Computers Firmware & Drivers

How To Download Drivers

Introduction

Device drivers are necessary to install just about any new piece of hardware to a PC. Traditionally manufacturers have included device drivers on an installation CD or DVD, that also accompanies the piece of equipment in the box. Before you connect the hardware to the computer, you insert the disc in the drive and allow the operating system to read the executable installation file. Then, you usually see a prompt that instructs you to physically connect the hardware device to the computer.

Plug and play is a feature on modern PCs which completely eliminates the sometimes laborious process of installing new hardware devices to a PC. This is often accomplished through the USB port. You simply connect your device, such as an inkjet printer or MP3 player directly to the PC using the USB cable accessory. The Windows operating system often includes the necessary drivers that help the device work on the computer. Life isn't always this easy though. 

Instead, you have to go hunting for drivers, which often means you have to download them from the Internet. Follow a few generalized steps to make sure the download process goes smoothly.

Step 1

Use the Windows Update service to download drivers. In this case you will want to connect the hardware device to the computer, even though you have no functioning driver files installed. The Windows operating system will create an error message when it notices that the new hardware device lacks the necessary drivers. When you begin the Windows update, the Windows Update service utility with take this error into account and check Microsoft's update servers for any files that can fix the situation.

Step 2

Open the Device Manager utility in Windows to download drivers. Find the hardware that needs drivers. For example the webcam in your laptop might need an updated driver. This would appear under the "Imaging" category in device manager. Double click on the device, opening a dialog box. Click the Update Driver button to download driver files from Microsoft's servers.

Step 3

Download driver files directly from the manufacturer's website. For example, if you are updating drivers for a Canon, Brother or Lexmark printer, you will navigate to those respective websites. Click on the Support section and enter your model number.

Step 4

Click the Update Drivers button within a particular application that came with the hardware device. This will download drivers from the manufacturer's website. For example, many MP3 players include playback software that helps your organize and transfer music to the device.

Step 5

Order an installation CD with drivers from the manuafacturer's website. Viewing the web page order form is technically a download something in relation to device drivers, even though files will actually arrive on a CD.

Tips

You can always uninstall to revert back to a previous driver version if the files that you got from doing a download from a website don't work too well.

Sources and Citations

  1. " Automatically get recommended drivers and updates for your hardware." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Automatically-get-recommended-drivers-and-updates-for-your-hardware>.
  2. " Find and install printer drivers for Windows 7." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Find-and-install-printer-drivers>.
  3. " How can I decide which drivers are safe to install?." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/How-can-I-decide-which-drivers-are-safe-to-install>.
  4. " Restore a driver to its previous version." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Restore-a-driver-to-its-previous-version>.
  5. " Understanding hardware and software for 64-bit versions of Windows." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/understanding-hardware-and-software-for-64-bit-windows>.
  6. " Find and install printer drivers for Windows 7." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Find-and-install-printer-drivers>.
  7. " Tips for fixing common driver problems." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Tips-for-fixing-common-driver-problems>.
  8. " Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Update-a-driver-for-hardware-that-isnt-working-properly>.
  9. " Hardware home pages: Master your devices with Device Stage." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/help/hardware-home-pages-master-your-devices-with-device-stage>.
By Adri Buckminster, published at 03/28/2012
   Rating: 4/5 (11 votes)
How To Download Drivers. 4 of 5 based on 11 votes.

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